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Oilers' Dubnyk still has team's confidence

by Derek Van Diest /

EDMONTON -- Despite giving up 10 goals in their past two games, the Edmonton Oilers still have confidence in Devan Dubnyk.

The Oilers goaltender was pulled in the second period of a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, and then served as a backup in the Oilers' 5-4 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils on Monday. But Dubnyk will get his shot at redemption Thursday as he starts against the Montreal Canadiens at Rexall Place.

"We've always had confidence in Devan," Oilers forward Taylor Hall said. "You look back at this summer when there were rumors we were after [Cory] Schneider, I always thought that Dubnyk was the guy for us. I've always believed that and I still do. Other guys in here feel the same way.

"Any goalie can have a couple of bad stretches, a couple of bad games. It's how you rebound, and we need him to be good this season. It's good for him to try and get his game back. He's capable of that and we have confidence in him."

The 27-year-old took over the starter's role exclusively last season. His play in the first two games of this season, though, has added fuel to the naysayers' argument that he may not be ready to handle that responsibility.

"I'm not going to stand here and tell you it's fun to have to sit on a couple of bad games like that," Dubnyk said. "But I've been here before and it's more wanting to get back out there. It's not being upset or worried about how things are going to go. It's just wanting to get back out there and play. I'm excited that this game is here and we'll get rolling now."

Also getting back into the lineup for the Oilers will be forward Ryan Smyth, who was a healthy scratch in the win against the Devils. Smyth will replace Ryan Hamilton, who injured his knee in the game Monday.

"Every game is an opportunity and you want to take full advantage of it," Smyth said. "You never want to sit out and watch. Obviously there is huge incentive. You want to play consistent, you want to play hard and you want to play for your teammates."

With Montreal in town, the Oilers are expecting a bipartisan crowd with its share of Canadiens jerseys in the stands. That's usually the case when an Original Six club makes a stop in Edmonton.

"Hopefully we can take the crowd out of it early," Smyth said, smiling. "We're excited to play these guys. Anytime an Original Six team comes in there are a lot of fans that obviously follow them. Hopefully we're just able to play hard, play simple and have fun doing it."

The Canadiens took the morning skate off, having lost to the Flames the night before in Calgary.

Peter Budaj will get the start in goal while forward Michael Bournival, one of five players to participate in the team's morning skate Thursday, could find his way into the lineup after sitting out the 3-2 loss in Calgary.

The Canadiens also could be without defenseman Josh Gorges, who played the first 20 seconds of the third period but did not return to the game.

Here is the projected lineup for the Oilers, and what the Canadiens used Wednesday against the Flames, with only the starting goaltender changed to reflect Budaj's status:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Nail Yakupov

Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Mike Brown

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Anton Belov

Devan Dubnyk

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Brandon Davidson

Injured: Sam Gagner (jaw), Steve MacIntyre (knee), Denis Grebeshkov (knee), Jesse Joensuu (back), Ryan Hamilton (knee)


Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brendan Gallagher

Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Daniel Briere

Travis Moen - Ryan White - Brandon Prust

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban

Andrei Markov - Raphael Diaz

Jarred Tinordi - Francis Bouillon

Peter Budaj

Carey Price

Scratched: Nathan Beaulieu, Michael Bournival

Injured: Douglas Murray (upper body), Davis Drewiske (shoulder), George Parros (concussion)

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